At BuzBooks, we wanted to share the stories of not only our journey as a service, but also the path our authors take through their self-publishing experience.
What better way than to create our new blog series titled Author Spotlight, which gives authors the chance to tell their self-publishing journey first-hand.
For our first Author Spotlight post we’ve chosen M.S.P. Williams, a budding author from Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of The University of Houston with a B.S. degree in Political Science. He relocated to the West Coast with his wife in 2013 where they share a combined love of travel, movies, sports, and doing their small part to make the world a much better place.
You can keep up to date with M.S.P. William’s socials, as well as where to purchase the book, through this link: https://linktr.ee/msp_williams
Thank you for offering to take the time to fill in these questions for us! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you to produce the creative for your book Listen Mama, learning about your gripping story along the way.
1. Tell us more about your book, Listen Mama. What inspired you to write this?
It’s a true-life story of me growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1990s and shows the hardship, struggle, and also beauty of my mother’s struggle with mental illness and poverty. I hope that it is a reminder to her that she is loved, and possibly an inspiration to someone else that is going through similar circumstances, so they know that they are not alone.
2. What’s the story behind your book cover design? We’ve worked alongside you to evolve the concept, we’d love to know more behind the changes you requested.
My original cover design was wonderful, received many compliments, and I used it on some early promotional and review materials. It was more standard fair as seen in memoirs and bio books – an early photo of my mother holding me in the darkness, meant to convey the seriousness of the subject matter. Then right before publishing I had the idea for something a bit more personal, and was thrilled to team with BuzBooks again on the final image, which is of a drawing I designed and had transformed into a tattoo of my other on my arm years ago. It shows her in an ethereal, majestic sort of way, much like how I saw her as a child, and really resonated with me as well as others.
Book Trailer for Listen Mama by author M.S.P. Williams.
3. What’s the greatest advantage of self-publishing to you?
The freedom that comes with answering to no one, beyond yourselves and potential readers. Of course, there are pitfalls in that – marketing, producing, and networking on your own. As well as having no one else to blame when things don’t quite pan out as you envisioned. But the pros far outweigh that in my opinion. Final says on my cover, my promotion, my words to me is priceless. And I’ve learned so much that I never would have before. Graphic requirements for images and manuscripts, typesetting and fonts for different genres, which formats to promote with, the dynamics of where to find my potential audience and the analytics behind how they interact with my ads online. It really is a master class in publishing almost, and though I am truly proud of the end result, the process itself was the true reward.
4. How important do you think it is for authors to have a professional looking cover design?
The importance of it cannot be overstated. If you don’t have a professional cover, the words inside almost don’t matter. Despite the well-known adage, that is unfortunately still how books are truly initially judged. It’s a human instinct to be drawn to or repelled by the visual, and you don’t want to give a potential reader anything that may persuade them to pass your project by due to a negative reaction from a first glance at a cover. You want to pique their curiosity, and invite them to share your journey by finding out what is the story behind the image that captured their attention.
5. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
Thank you for asking. I am currently in the editing stages of a novel for teens and older Young Adults that I actually wrote a few years ago, but placed on the back burner to focus on Listen Mama. It is a bit of mix of Southern Gothic meets Psychological Horror, Urban Fantasy, & Paranormal Romance. I am extremely excited and proud of it and have gotten some very positive feedback so far. Not sure if I will go the self-published route again or attempt to find a traditional agent. Yet either way, I’d be thrilled to work with BuzBooks again!
And If I may I’d like to please give a special shout out to Kumar Udhaya. From my initial query over a year ago when I was unsure of whether I would even go through with this project, to my different thoughts and ideas for covers, the interior, social media banners, and marketing trailers – he’s been there through it all. Patient, kind, and willing to hear out all of my wild ideas and help me hone my vision into something real. I truly am so appreciative of both him and everyone at the BuzBooks team that guided me in turning this dream into a reality.